There are writings of fools and fools, and in foolish things, sometimes wisdom dances its way along the corridors of the soul. I pray forgive the mental wanderings of this foolish servant, and in the nature of things, the latitude assumed in the writing.
There are concepts and terms not easily assigned, neither taught in simplicity, nor wrought without thought. Thus it is that I have chosen an older style of writing for this time, a juxtaposition of the old, within today’s realm of thought.
If you are here, and here indeed you may be, for you read this, do you not? You must be interested in the mind of a fool, for mock or whimsy, for poesy or prose, for plenty or penury, passion or passivity.
It matters not why you are here. This is a discussion of old times, and older ideas, a discussion of establishments, and their natures. To understand the past, you must return thence, and thus, in its nature, to a time when people did not forget after the first five ticks of a clock’s minute hand what they had read… when concepts were communicated, not by imagery of the eye, but imagery of the mind.
Today’s discussion is one of contract, and of its nature. This fool knows of contract, for contracts signed and sealed in his own soul bind him to the task of the fool. Like Mephistopheles, a contract involves an offer… an offer for some good, some service, or other tangible value, a consideration, something of tangible value in exchange for the primary, and an acceptance. Under the law, this comprises a contract, without regard to the writing thereof, or the medium of its message.
Since you are still reading, I count you already as a student, and hence, must offer explanation and apology for my speaking thus. I am a man outside of time, lost in memory of the past, and equally lost within today’s world. I am the Fool’s Fool, and my own foil.
The nature of contract must be established to understand what a contract is, before the discussion of aspects of law, regarding contracts. The essential nature is, again, offer, consideration, and acceptance. Nothing more is needed. It is an agreement between parties for that which holds assigned value, an exchange of rights and powers over that consideration.
Like Mephistopheles of old, contracts are subject to interpretation. The essence of the contract is the agreement, the meeting of the minds. This meeting may be illusory, deceptive in practice, or deceptive in establishment. The understanding thereof becomes vital in determining the nature of that meeting of the minds.
There are several things that may make a contract void, and the first of those things, dear reader, is fraud. If I offer the sale of a loaf of bread, and the bread is not mine, then fraud has occurred. The lack of rights of ownership is not the only form of fraud, misrepresentation is also, equally fraudulent. Fraud takes many forms, many faces. Fraud can be in the offer, the consideration, or the acceptance.
Fraud has several brothers, mistake, and duress. Any of these capering imps manipulating the contract in any aspect may cause it to become void. A person can be mistaken as to the terms of the contract, and therefore, the meeting of the minds did not occur. If duress threatens the contractor, on either side in order to give his offer, consideration, or acceptance, the contract is automatically void.
The most particular parts of contract are the essences of the discussion at hand. In order to understand the offer, and the consideration and acceptance, we must be able to examine the terms of the contract, the particulars of the contract, and the negotiation behind the terms.
Without these elements, the nature of the contract becomes indeterminate, and it is dubious that any contract actually existed to begin with. Neutral witnesses to any contract help, as well as the preservation of documents, or statements made as to the nature of that contract.
This nature of contract has been part of the laws of the United States since it was born, and before it was born, rootstock upon which the laws of England grew.
But why is contract so important? Perhaps the next article may bring that to light, good readers.